“Let’s have breakfast together tomorrow,” Joey said, over the mobile phone.
“Yes, I’d love to,” Maggie replied.
The reception wasn’t ideal and sounded to his mother like he was talking into a tin can. She continued wiping down the kitchen counters with one hand while holding the phone in the other.
“We need to meet at 8 A.M. by the bus stop, my class schedule is packed.”
Maggie couldn’t figure out why he sounded so insistent. It wasn’t like him, and it was too damn early, but curiosity won. At the appointed time, they rendezvoused at the bus stop on Connecticut Avenue by the National Zoo. He didn’t say much, other than greeting her with a smile, until they reached the university campus. She thought about when he had first chosen her Alma Mater and the pride welled up again. At the corner of H and 21st Street, the bus pulled up in front of an empty lot where a building had been during her years at GW, but a sign listing future plans stood in its place. On the other side of the road, the Lisner Auditorium still shined with a newer open courtyard flanked with pathways leading up to an obelisk in the center.
Joey’s phone chimed. As they stepped out of the bus, he interrupted their plans and announced that he had to disappear for a brief meeting. Maggie didn’t want to wait but didn’t really have another choice. He’d apologized, and they agreed to meet by the obelisk in 45-minutes. The phone chimed again. Maggie felt rather annoyed by the constant interruptions of text messages, this was their time. Regardless, he jogged off with his backpack flopping left and right across his shoulders. He, like most runners, was fit and lean. Maggie longed for the days when she was as fit. The years hadn’t been kind. Her mid-section had lost its definition. She snickered at herself for referring to a part of her own body as it. By the curb sat a vendor’s cart. A black coffee—no cream or sugar—would perk her up. The man poured the brew into a to-go cup, she paid cash. These days, more often than not, people use a debit or credit card. For small amounts, it hardly seemed worth the effort. Maggie meandered back to the courtyard and sat down on the bench to wait. Looking at the coffee, she smiled and recalled never being willing to buy anything from street vendors or food trucks for fear of getting ill. Today, in these modern times, everyone bought things from them without any problems. Lifting her toes to the sky, she did a few rounds of leg-lifts and breathed in the moist air.
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